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We see in Matthew 10:25 how Jesus cautions his disciples against adversities: "If the head of house has been called Beelzebul, how much would the members be!" Going ahead to Matthew 12:24 we see the Pharisees commenting that Jesus was casting out demons with the help of Belzabul. There are two possibilities to explain the arrangement of the events in an order that is not chronological. First, Matthew may have erred in mentioning 10:25 followed by 12:24. The second possibility is that in Mtt 10:25 Jesus was perhaps referring to an event that had taken place earlier, but was not recorded in the Gospels. Moreover, Jesus is specific in saying that the Head of Family has been called Belzabul, whereas in 12:24 he is accused of getting help from Belzabul.

My question therefore is: Who is the Head of House that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 10:25?

Views of scholars of any denomination are welcome.

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Who is the Head of House that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 10:25?

It is Beelzebub the god of the Ekronites, god of dung and filth. Some think it could be Satan!

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The disciple is not above his master ... - That is, you must expect the same treatment which I have received. They have called me, your Master and Teacher, Beelzebub, the prince of the devils (see Matthew 12:24; Luke 11:15; John 8:48), and you must expect that they will call all of the family by the same name. "Beelzebub" was a god of the Ekronites. See 2 Kings 1:2. The word literally means "the god of flies," so called because this idol was supposed to protect them from the numerous swarms of flies with which that country abounded. The correct reading here, as in Luke 11:15, Luke 11:18-19; Mark 3:22, is supposed to be, not "Beelzebub," but "Beelzebul" (Griesbach, Hahn, Robinson, Lexicon) an Aramean form of the word meaning the "god of dung" or "filth." The name, thus altered by the Jews by changing a single letter, was given to Satan to express supreme contempt and aversion. The Jews seem to have first given to Satan the name of a pagan god, and then, to express their sense of the character of Satan, to have changed that name by altering a single letter so as to express their aversion in the most emphatic manner. By giving the name to Christ, they poured upon him the greatest possible abuse and contempt.

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  • Thanks, Ken Graham. NKJV puts Mtt 10:25 like this : " If they have called........how much will they call..." My take is that Jesus is referring to the Pharisees calling him names. And he is preparing the disciple for worse, that the enemies will call them by names beyond the worst imagination. Mtt 9:34 ( which I inadvertently missed ) explains Jesus' concern. Aug 19, 2023 at 2:05
  • Jesus goes on to say in Mtt 10:26 : " So, do not be afraid of them..." He is clearly pointing at the disciples' would - be- enemies , who would go to any extent to discourage them from the mission. Aug 19, 2023 at 2:54
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Who is the Head of House that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 10:25?

It begins at Mt 9:34.

But the Pharisees said, He [Jesus] casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

The idea is that the prince rules the servants.

So now, Mt. 10:25:

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

Same concept. The master of demons is Satan Beelzebub. He rules over his household.

The point is Jesus is reversing their words, using their words against them. They accuse Christ, but in their accusation, they reveal their servanthood to their master. Not Christ, but Beelzebub.

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Mt 12:24

The Pharisees accused Christ of casting out devils by the prince of devils. In turn, Christ asks them by whom they do the same.

And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. Mt. 12:27

Uh, wait a minute they thought. Christ then springs His point.

But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Mt. 12:28

Take your pick. Either you serve Satan because you cast out devils by Satan. Or Christ casts out devils by the Spirit of God, in which case, Christ is their King.

And there was given him [Son of man; Jesus] dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Who is the master? Take your pick, either Beelzebub or Christ.

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